Classic Australian Recipes

TJam drops coverhis week book coasters is supporting Cooking For Copyright. To inspire you, let’s break out some modern collections of classic Australian cookery.

The Green and Gold Cookery Book was first published is 1923 by a school in Sydney, as a fundraiser. It’s a snapshot of what was considered popular and easy in the Australia enjoying the boom just before the Great Depression. I like to think of it as the Australian rival to The Common Sense Cook Book.

The Country Women’s Association has published a variety of cook books over the decades it has been operating. The one I’d suggest for Cooking For Copyright is Jam Drops and Marble Cake : 60 Years of CWA award-winning recipes. It contains a series of recipes that have won a competition sponsored by the Land newspaper. Samples can be found on the CWA NSW website.

Liz Harfull’s cookbooks encapsulate a simple idea: find the prize winners from Australian shows, and watch them cook. Measure everything, from the cup they leave in their flour container to the temperature of their oven. Translate their hand-me-down recipes into the modern style, to allow others to replicate the unwritten parts of their techniques.

The Australian Women’s Weekly has been selling cookery books forever, many of them faddish. The older ones have a weird undertone of competitive hostility toward your guests. The one most suited to this is The Country Table.

I’d also like to mention The Art of Living In Australia, an early cookbook available from Project Gutenberg. Its author came to Australia in the 1890s and was appalled by what Australians ate. He suggested, for example, that the Australian habit of having tea and toast for lunch every day was just ridiculous (thereby recording the “billy tea and damper” we now subject tourists to), He sings the praises of the Mediterranean diet (given Sydney’s “warm” climate), explains what salad is, and tries to convince people that drinking cold water will not kill them.